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Marine Ornamental Fish & Invertebrate Breeders • View topic - Making your own salt

Making your own salt

Making your own salt

Postby Dman » Sat Mar 24, 2007 3:03 pm

Running this as a business requires me (and probably others) to reduse costs where I can. Here's a recipe that was shared with me a while ago:


The following artificial seawater recipe is taken from "Chemical Oceanography" by Frank Millero. It makes a recipe that matches 35 ppt seawater in terms of major ions, but does not try to match all minor and trace elements, most of which will be present as impurities in the major elements.

23.98 g sodium chloride
5.029 g magnesium chloride anhydrous (magchlorhexahydrate is MgCl2.6H2O)(Mg -
4.01 g sodium sulfate
1.14 g calcium chloride
0.172 g sodium bicarbonate

0.699 g potassium chloride
0.100 g potassium bromide
0.0254 g boric acid
0.0143 g strontium chloride
0.0029 g sodium fluoride

Water to 1 kg total weight.

From the above, I use only the elments in bold type.
I use this water mixed 50/50 with I.O. for parent and rotifer systems and 25% for larval and growout systems. These ratios will probably change in the next year or so if I find I'm not experiencing any problems. Almost a year and no problems yet. If things continue to go well, I'll probably start using IO at less than 25% and only for trace elements.
The sodium chloride I use is also water softener salt - Sifto's Crystal Plus which is available at H.D., 20K for $3.99, but I usually buy 30 bags when they have their sales of it at $2.99 a bag.
The bicarb, I get at the discount supermarkets and the remaining salts I buy from

I ran a cost analysis and this works out to about $6.83 for 150 gallons. Can you say MUCHO savings
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Postby Dman » Mon Apr 02, 2007 12:03 am

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Postby David M » Mon Apr 02, 2007 1:04 am

Seahorse Aquatics Current Availability List: http://www.sdreefs.com/forums/showthread.php?t=39000
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Postby Jabba » Mon Apr 02, 2007 1:47 pm

Looks like most of these could be found locally if you want to try with smaller quantities, those who live in the warmer climates may have trouble finding the ice melt chemicals

Sodium Chloride = water softener salt

Magnesium Chloride = Mag Flake Image used for melting ice

Sodium Sulfate = ?, not sure of a cheap local source...

Calcium Chloride = Dow Flake Image used for melting ice

Sodium Bicarbonate = baking soda Image

The Mag Flake and Dow Flake are ice melt chemicals, which you might be able to find at a Home Depot or such. They are used by some for calcium and magnesium additions to reef tanks, check http://www.twopartsolution.com. I'll have to see if I can find some before they disappear for the summer.
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Postby AquaticEnterprises » Thu Apr 19, 2007 10:35 pm

D, if you want to shoot me that spreadsheet, I can make a little program that would calculate it all automatically for you as well in Visual Basic. Should be pretty simple and easily adapted to the web. I have a little number I use for selling coral that calculates my Ebay and Paypal fees! :D Pretty helpful when doing paperwork.
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Postby Dman » Fri May 18, 2007 1:22 am

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Postby Lazer Bubble » Wed Sep 05, 2007 11:48 pm

What made you choose to leave those select elements out of the original recipe?
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Re: Making your own salt

Postby William » Thu Sep 06, 2007 1:12 am

Last edited by William on Fri Sep 07, 2007 12:29 am, edited 9 times in total.
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Re:

Postby Dman » Thu Sep 06, 2007 2:32 am

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Re:

Postby William » Thu Sep 06, 2007 11:18 am

Will
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Postby William » Thu Sep 06, 2007 10:54 pm

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Postby "Umm, fish?" » Fri Sep 07, 2007 1:59 am

Andy

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Making your own salt

Postby dlries » Tue Dec 18, 2007 3:45 pm

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Postby veng68 » Thu Dec 20, 2007 9:16 pm

Dow flakes now have a higher levels of Bromine



Not sure if this is bad for fish but it's not too good for corals.

[edit]Actually looking at the amount of Dow Flakes used....... it may not be a problem.

Cheers,
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Re: Making your own salt

Postby Greshamh » Thu Dec 20, 2007 9:38 pm

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Postby veng68 » Fri Dec 21, 2007 2:35 pm

Dman and Acroporas,

Just wondering, typically how big is a batch of your home made salts and how much water does that make?

Cheers,
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Postby dweakl01 » Sun Dec 30, 2007 11:31 am

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Postby acropora1981 » Tue Jan 08, 2008 3:18 am

acroporas,

you said that you changed the recipe to reflect the hydrated epson salt...did you post that updated recipe? i dont see it...
when you do things right, people wont be sure you've done anything at all
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Postby William » Tue Jan 08, 2008 7:34 am

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Postby SteveH » Wed Jan 09, 2008 11:13 pm

Am I doing my math correctly in figuring out that this will make enough for 1 liter of salt water? Has anyone actually made this? And if so, how many times did you multiply the recipe in order to get a substantial amount to make it worth making? After it's all said and done, does it end up costing less than a regular bucket of salt?
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Re:

Postby Dman » Thu Jan 10, 2008 3:14 am

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Re:

Postby SteveH » Thu Jan 10, 2008 12:30 pm

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Postby William » Thu Mar 27, 2008 6:22 pm

Well, I finally decided to give this a try.

I did a 30% water change on my fish system with DIY salt.

To each bucket (old IO bucket, holds about 7 gallons) I added:

580 gm Morton's Table Salt
20 gm Publix Brand Epsom Salt
2 gm Prestone Driveway Heat
1 gm Publix Brand Baking Soda
and a dash of Pickling lime

I let the buckets sit for 30 minutes, prior to adding it to the system. The water was still very cloudy when I added it to system.

According to the recipes above, this was 5x too much baking soda. But since this is a fish system, I was more worried about pH than Ca and and since I have no pH or Alkalinity test kit, the easiest way to avoid pH problems it to overdose the soda...

Immediately after doing the water change, the whole system turned VERY cloudy. (visibility was ~2"). It took two days for the water to clear. I suspect this was from the huge baking soda overdose.

So far, the fish seem to love it. And I'm loving the cost. Next time, I'll try it with a bit less baking soda though.

It cost a little under 3 cents a gallon to make, compared to 20 cents a gallon for IO.
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Postby KathyL » Thu Mar 27, 2008 6:55 pm

The overdose on carbonate (baking soda) will precipitate Calcium and carbonate out of the water, hence the cloudiness. You will end up with less alkalinity than you wanted, and very low Calcium.

It may be smarter/ better to get a pH meter or test kit, than to proceed this way. Saltwater is a balance of many things, and adding more of one ingredient affects the balance of the others. Risky business, particularly if you are not testing pH and other things.
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Postby William » Thu Mar 27, 2008 8:30 pm

Yea, I know the chemistry. In a reef tank overdosing carbonates, is a bad thing, but in a fish system when you don't care about the calcium levels, it is not so much of a big deal. I always keep the alkalinity high and the calcium low in my fish system.

But I really did not add that much baking soda.

According to the directions on a bottle of Seachem Reef Builder, you should add 3gm / 40 gallons 2x a week.

My system holds 60 gallons, so according to Seachem, I should be adding 4.4 gm 2x per week.

I added only 4gm of baking soda to the system through that water change. That is less than the recommended dose.

I know that if I had added 4gm of baking soda directly into the tank, that it would not have caused any calcium precipitation.

Yes I know I should have test kits, especially while I am experimenting with mixing salt, normally I test my water so infrequently, I just mooch off the LFS when I am curious about my water chemistry.

After everything stabilized, the calcium ended up at 300ppm and the alkalinity 7meq/L. Pretty close to what it was before... (I dont have test kits at home, I just mooch off the LFS when I am curious about my water chemistry )

I think next time I am going to try mixing it without any baking soda at first and see if it clears quicker. It it does I will then add the baking soda after everything else has dissolved and see if that does not cloud everything up so much.
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